Local, Independant and Effective

QT - Government must commit to Multi-Purpose Service funding review?

Posted October 14, 2015



CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (14:16): Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, representatives from three Victorian multipurpose health services are currently visiting the parliament, discussing the viability of services, negative implications of changing funding arrangements and the need for a review of funding arrangements. Minister, can you please commit to the House that a review of funding will take place in order to ensure that we have long-term sustainability and efficient, effective and targeted delivery of health services to our regional communities?

SUSSAN LEY (Farrer—Minister for Health, Minister for Sport and Minister for Aged Care) (14:17): I thank the member for Indi for her question, which I understand focuses on the delivery of health through multipurpose services in her electorate of Indi. I know she has several in Corryong, in Bright and in Mount Beauty and in parts of the Alpine Shire. I can reassure the member for Indi that the review of which she speaks is well and truly underway.

Members of the House, particularly rural and regional members, may know that the MPS model is very good—it is tried and true—but it has not been reinvented since 1993 and it does need reviewing. It provides a combination of both acute and subacute services with aged-care residential services in small regional towns. It is a model that has stood the test of time, but it is appropriate, given our changes to aged-care funding, that we review this, and the independent Aged Care Financing Authority is doing exactly that.

As rural and regional members of the House will understand, aged care does not look the same in every part of Australia. It is vital that we look after our most important frail and elderly in rural and regional Australia and that we do not do it in exactly the same way as we might in the big cities. It is vital that we understand that for people who have grown up and spent their whole lives in small country towns, a move of even 20 or 30 kilometres down the road can be a move too far. So I am very committed to making sure that as we keep older Australians healthier and happier in their homes for longer—remembering that only five per cent actually do go into residential aged care—we also provide models that work well for individuals and empower them with the choice to determine their own destiny. That is totally appropriate, whether you happen to be 23 or 93.

We recognise that the supports and policy that the federal government puts in place need to capture the wants and
needs of our older Australians. I look forward to the independent authority that I spoke about doing the review
and picking up on the interests of not just the member for Indi but all members in this place.

IMAGE: MPS delegation, including Mallee CEO Track John Senior, Timboon CEO Gerry Sheehan, Timboon chair John Renyard, Robinvale chair Peter Campisi, CEO UMCHS Maxine Brockfield and board member Max Grigg, and Robinvale CEO Mara Richards, with Cathy.

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